Ilford girl, Hannah, 9, finds 125 million-year-old fossil on summer holidays

Hannah Chowdhry, 9, with her 125 million-year-old fossil

Hannah Chowdhry, 9, with her 125 million-year-old fossil - Credit: Archant

In an amazing case of beginner’s luck, a nine-year-old Ilford girl with a fascination for prehistory found a 125 million-year-old fossil on the Isle of Wight.

Hannah Chowdhry was exploring the Dinosaur Island Trail on Yaverland Beach with her father, Wilson, when she made the amazing find last month.

As they walked along the shoreline, enjoying the sights, they chanced upon something that will have fellow palaeontology buffs nodding in appreciation.

“We found some huge rocks and stones, and we thought it might just be cement, but I noticed there was an animal inside,” Hannah said.

Her sharp eyes and keen interest had picked out something that others may have overlooked.

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Hannah’s love of all things prehistoric was inspired by a private tour of the Natural History Museum in August.

They took their find back to London where they asked Professor Adrian Lister and his colleagues at the museum’s department of earth sciences to examine it.

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“Initially the larger piece of rock was identified as viviparus (freshwater snails) from the Wessex Formation, Lower Cretaceous,” he said.

“But we examined it again and decided it’s not viviparus, but a different fossil mollusc called Filosina gregaria. The stone is named after it – Filosina limestone.”

The age was still determined to be 125 million years old – give or take a year.

Professor Lister said the fossil was a “nice find” and while the museum already has some like it in its collection, it had taken great skill on Hannah’s part to spot it.

The professor is a member of the East Ilford Betterment Partnership, which wants to install a life-size replica of the mammoth skull found in Ilford town centre in 1864.

The skull is now on display at the Natural History


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